by Randall S. Hansen, Ph.D.
Wondering about the best methods for finding a new job? Whether you have been searching for a new job with little success or are new to job-hunting, this guide will provide you with expert advice designed to show you how to find a new job.
Let’s start with breaking some old, and potentially bad, habits. First, if you’ve been job-hunting and spending most of your time online, it’s time to turn off the connection. Second, if you’ve sent out resumes and never gotten a positive response, it’s time to revamp your resume. Third, if you have gotten a few job interviews, but gotten no further than the first interview, it’s time to enhance your interviewing skills.
How to Find a Job: A Guide for All Job-Seekers
- Philosophy: You have to earn a job offer — and in doing so, you not only have to beat out all the other job-seekers, but also convince the employer that you are the right person for the job. You have to adopt a sales philosophy in all aspects of your job-hunting — from resume to interviewing — touting what you offer each prospective employer.
You will also need to work harder than ever before to obtain that job offer — including digging out job leads, maximizing your network of contacts, sharpening your job-search materials (especially your resume), following up all leads, and excelling in job interviews.
- Strategy: Jobs are more scarce these days and employers are not only more picky about who they hire, they are also taking much longer to make decisions. Your job-hunting time must be spent on proven, useful activities. The ideal outcome for you is that you receive more than one job offer at the conclusion of all your job-hunting.
To achieve this goal, you must spend much more time working with your social and business network to uncover job leads — using insider information to get in on the ground floor of opportunities. It’s also much better time spent if you work on your LinkedIn profile than if you post your resume on Monster. If you feel an absolute need to post your resume, do so with one major job board (and we recommend Jobs.LiveCareer.com), and one or two specialized ones — focused on your industry/profession and/or location. If you have specific companies in mind, post your resume directly to their career/job section of their Websites.
- Tools: The tools of the trade for job-seekers must be sharp, focused, targeted. You have to know your key selling points — your mix of skills, education/training, and accomplishments — and how those key selling points apply directly to the jobs you seek. Your resume must be targeted both to your unique talents as well as to each employer and each job. Your job interviewing skills must be top-notch, with answers keenly showcasing your talents while dazzling with insights about the employer.Your most important tool to find your next job is NOT a job ad/posting. Rather, your best tool in finding your next job is someone you know — someone who either knows of job opportunities or knows someone who knows of job opportunities. Not only are people in your network the BEST sources of job leads, they are also excellent sources of insider information that can help you better sell your qualifications and fit for the job. [Learn more in our The Art of Career and Job-Search Networking.]
After your network, the next most important tool is your resume. You need a resume that is targeted both to humans (hiring managers) and machines (applicant tracking systems). Your resume must highlight your key attributes while being targeted to each position, each employer. Keywords are essential to your success, as are key accomplishments. Your resume is the core of your job-search — and if it is not strong, the job-search will collapse… or simply limp along. [Learn more in our Resume and CV Resources for Job-Seekers.]
Your third tool is follow-up. Persistence is essential for all job-seekers. For the vast majority of us, employers will not be chasing us; rather, we need to politely and respectfully follow-up with employers — probably for much longer than you ever imagined. Do NOT be afraid of emailing or calling a prospective employer to inquire about the state of the job-search. Remember the old adage about the squeaky wheel getting the oil. [Learn more in our articles, Follow Up All Job Leads: Don’t Wait by the Phone (or Computer) and The Art of Follow-Up After Job Interviews.]
Your fourth tool is your interviewing skills. You do not need to be the most polished interviewee, but you must be the most focused on delivering the (hopefully consistent) message that you are the best job-seeker for the job — doing so not only by telling why you are the best, but showing it as well. Remember too, the importance of thank-you letters/emails during the interview phase of your job-search. [Learn more in our Job Interviewing Resources for Job-Seekers.]
Final Thoughts on How to Job Hunt Successfully
You may need a new mindset and a new strategy — even a new execution style — to find a new job. The key is working smart every single day — using whatever time you have to search for a new job wisely… by using the process outlined in this article.
Finally, as you move toward the end of your job-search, you’ll also want to brush up on your salary negotiation skills so that you obtain the best — and strongest — offer from your future employer. Part of your success will depend on knowing your value in the marketplace, but part will also be based on your skills in marketing yourself as the best candidate and in how well you negotiate. [Learn more in our Salary Negotiation and Job Offer Tools and Resources for Job-Seekers.]
Questions about some of the terminology used in this article? Get more information (definitions and links) on key college, career, and job-search terms by going to our Job-Seeker’s Glossary of Job-Hunting Terms.
Dr. Randall S. Hansen is founder of Quintessential Careers, one of the oldest and most comprehensive career development sites on the Web, as well CEO of EmpoweringSites.com. He is also founder of MyCollegeSuccessStory.com and EnhanceMyVocabulary.com. He is publisher of Quintessential Careers Press, including the Quintessential Careers electronic newsletter, QuintZine. Dr. Hansen is also a published author, with several books, chapters in books, and hundreds of articles. He’s often quoted in the media and conducts empowering workshops around the country. Finally, Dr. Hansen is also an educator, having taught at the college level for more than 15 years. Visit his personal Website or reach him by email at randall(at)quintcareers.com. Check out Dr. Hansen on GooglePlus.